Who is shaping your child’s character?
I can not stress the importance of Character Education. But kids aren’t attending church nowadays.
‘According to the Hartford Institute of Religion Research, more than 40 percent of people say they go to church every week, but statistics show that fewer than 20 percent actually attend.’1
Culturally, this is an issue. We have to get people back into church. Where then are kids supposed to learn their values? Of course, those who spend the most time with a child will be the most influential. Nothing replaces having good parents. Parents have the largest influence. Kids are going to learn values regardless of how intentional you are. So, you had better make sure that you are sending the right messages to your kids.
Our staff rack up a good number of hours with our students, between 100-200 hours a year. We are a large influence as well, and if you don’t know by now, kids rarely listen to their parents. It’s amazing. Our staff can tell a child to “pull their weight” at home, and they do it the first time. Something that took mom and dad multiple times gets handled instantly. If you’re a coach or teacher, you must realize the influence that you have on the kids within your sphere. Parents, don’t hesitate to use your kids’ role models as tools in your toolbox. However, it’s not their job to raise your kids. Use them sparingly or they’ll start not listening to them either. You have to be the adult.
Don’t get me wrong. Parents have good intentions, just bad information. Many will say, "It's just not her thing." Well, neither was ballet, trumpet, or even soccer. Eventually, you’re going to run out of things, maybe even money. But, what matters most is time. These are the years in which they form the habits that will last them a lifetime. When will she find her "thing”?
Passions don’t just plop in your lap. You’ll circle back around spending 3 years trying different things having committed to no real substantial depth in any. Now, trying things is fine, but once you sign on the dotted line, they finish the season. They don’t have to be “lifers,” but they will have actually learned a skill other than quitting.
‘Early-childhood-education specialist Peggy Patten, M.A., agrees and notes that children today have many wonderful opportunities, but they need time to explore things in depth. When they are involved in too many different things, they sacrifice breadth for depth.’ -Psychology Today
You can’t grow passions through just dabbling. However, you can discover through experimentation an area or activity that you like or have an interest in. Your relationship with martial arts is like a human relationship in that it takes time to develop a “love.”
It also takes balance. Kids need to have down time as well. If their entire existence consists of an itinerary with each second accounted for, they lose the ability to experiment on their own, the ability to cope with boredom, and to develop their creativity.
As much as I believe that specialization is a great thing, don’t be a passion pusher. This can lead to resentment later on in life when the child is good at something that they absolutely hate.
The question that parents must always ask is, “How much do we push?”
Since kids think in the short-term, they could easily find a distracting alternate activity than practicing their TaeKwonDo form. It is important that we guide them in making the right decisions, the choices that, in the long-term will set them up for success. Doing the work for them is futile. It is not our job to choose their passions, but we can steer them with directional intent to finding one. In the end, they must choose their own path.